The man who said he eats, sleeps and breathes Manchester City Bernard Halford, has died aged 77.
A lifelong Manchester City supporter, Mr Halford joined the blues way back in 1972, before most of us were even born, as club secretary and has seen the blues through their highs and lows over the past 47 years.
In 2006, Mr Halford was elected to the Club’s Hall of Fame, and in doing so, became the only non-player to be bestowed with this honour. In 2010, he became only the Club’s second Life President with the blues, giving almost 40 years of loyal and unwavering service with City.
Mr Halford watched his beloved blues go from the heights of the glory days of the 60’s and 70’s, where City were crowned league champions, won the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners Cup, through the boomerang days of the 80’s and 90’s with the club bouncing between divisions. He stuck with the blues through those dark, tumultuous times, working with Peter Swales, Francis Lee, David Bernstein and Thaksin Shinawatra, through to modern day ownership of ADUG, where City have become a real force again.
In September last year, he gave an interview with The National, where he recalled the takeover of ADUG and the effect it had, not just on the club, but on the local area itself. Referring to the transfer of Robinho in September 2008, he said “If someone had said in 2004-05 or any time up to the takeover that Manchester City was going to spend £32m on a player, you would have thought we would have to buy two teams for that. It was a mammoth thing.”
Mr Halford recalled that evening well “We signed Robinho on deadline day. At that time you faxed things to the FA and I was sending papers through at 10 to 12 because it all had to be done by 12. The fans were driving around the Etihad all beeping their horns.”
And he also heaped praise on ADUG for transforming the whole area around the Etihad Stadium. “This area was one of the most deprived in the country, Ancoats and Beswick and Bradford, with the poor standard of living and people out of work. The Sheikh hasn’t just built a football team; he has made this area unbelievable.”
And in 2011, he achieved a lifelong ambition of lifting the FA Cup when City beat Stoke 1-0 at Wembley. “On the day of the match, I get told, if we win the Cup, I am going up to receive it. The only person, other than a player or a manager, to lift the Cup at Wembley. I was 69 years old and I lifted the FA Cup with 90,000 people at Wembley. Can you imagine?” You can read the full interview here.
Bernard Halford was a fully committed blue. His tireless work not only with the blues, but out in the community will be a legacy that he leaves behind. A true gent of the game, he was the man whose name everybody supporter knew, but never saw in the spotlight. He was the man who made things happen behind the scenes, to ensure us supporters saw some of the best players on the pitch at Maine Road and the Etihad. He was also instrumental in the creation of the MCFC Women’s team, way back in 1988 as explained here.
He will be a legend that will be sorely missed.
But not only that, Bernard Halford was respected in the game, even with opposing supporters. He defied his years to work continuously with the blues, and was passionate about the club he loved, and this video, taken after the blues famously beat QPR in 2012, sums up his feelings perfectly.
Our though and condolences go out to his family and friends at this difficult time.
Bernard, you have put up with the blues for a very long time. You are the epitome of what a true supporter is.
Rest in Peace Bernard Halford. You of all people have earned it.